The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) which replaces NAFTA, contains a chapter on digital trade. Michael Geist highlights several problems, including:
- threat to privacy from restrictions to data localisation, even for health records
- threat to privacy from free transfer of data across national borders
- lax anti-spam and consumer protection provisions
- failure to protect net neutrality
He notes that the chapter builds on TPP provisions and looks likely to set the standard for upcoming trade negotiations worldwide.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data equally, much as traffic is treated on the public highway. The Trump administration is already in conflict with the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, who has signed into law a bill defending the principle. It is hated by the big internet media companies that want to buy priority for their lucrative and data-heavy video content.
Meanwhile, India is already under pressure from the US to relax its data localisation laws.
The full text of the USMCA agreement can be found here
Image: By JD Lasica from Pleasanton, CA, US – Mark Zuckerberg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72122211